Who is your favorite star player? Is it LeBron James in basketball? Peyton Manning in Football, or Derek Jeter in baseball? Regardless of which star you pick, management knows that this star is the “duck who lays the golden eggs” and they treat him with respect and shower him with dollars. On the same team, suiting up in the same uniform, playing the same number of games, going to the same amount of meetings and practice workouts; you can have the star making 10 million per year and his team member making the minimum $300,000 per year. What exactly is the message management is trying to convey with this disparity in salary? The message is “you are the best, you are important to this team winning, we value you and your skills, we don’t want another team to be able to steal you away by offering you more money.” The other members of the team don’t grumble at the water cooler about the unfairness of pay. Instead they are happy to play in the presence of greatness and they are hoping that some of his skills will rub off on them.
Let’s bring this scenario to your sales team. How are you letting the stars on your team know that you value their contributions? Do you reward them with praise publicly and personally? Do their bonuses reflect their value? I have been on teams where the top sales representative overachieves by 150% to revenue goal and the Sales Manager offers no public or personal congratulations. No fanfare! On top of that accounting tries to not pay by recalculating and cutting the amounts of bonuses.
The 20/70/10 rule of differentiation states that 20% of your team are your star players and should be showered with incentives to continue to perform at this high level. The next 70 percent are average or mediocre team members and management should offer them coaching to improve their confidence and skills sets.
Take the case study of Rolando McClain. He was the #1 draft pick for the Oakland Raiders in 2010. That means that he was one of the best coming out of college; but once in the NFL, he didn’t live up to his potential and he was released first by Oakland Raiders. He was then picked up by the Baltimore Ravens and later released as well. Then when the Cowboys were looking for a linebacker, McClain came under their radar and they decided to check him out. They called his old college coach Nick Sabin and asked him what made McClain good in college. With this information the Cowboys received from Coach Sabin, they called McClain in for a tryout and made him an offer. The story goes that the exchange with the Ravens cost the Cowboys a bag of donuts! Jason Garrett the head coach of the Cowboys and his coaching staff worked with McClain, improved his confidence, and moved him from the bottom 10%, to the top 20%. McClain now starts every game and he and the Cowboys had an awesome year.
The job of a Sales Manager is to move his mediocre players up through the ranks with effective coaching. Sometimes an outside coach works best, because the employee can be honest. Beating them over the head with the numbers on the report is not the way to do it.
Please call me for a free consultation if you are interested in improving the players on your team.
The last number is the bottom 10%. These team members should be moved out to other roles. If on a sales team and selling is not their forte, they could be moved to a supporting role, for example.